There’s an old saying that I’ve always like: Fortune favours the bold. Taking the initiative and just doing something instead of weighing up the options has usually been my modus operadi, and while it’s not always advisable to go into things half-cocked, I feel that my gut instinct usually steers me in the right direction.
It’s an idea that’s at the heart of Star Renegades, a game of constant rebirth and tactical elements that emphasises being bold, brave and always making the first move against foes that can easily wipe your party out in one chuckling blow of well-placed confidence. Star Renegades is also a game with a lot of overt influences, from the nemesis system of Shadow of Mordor through to a flow of combat straight out of Octopath Traveler, all sewn together with a devil may care attitude and gorgeous pixel art.
Enough flowery chat though, what’s the actual game about then? Here’s the situation soldier: In the far-off future of whenever, badness is knocking at your door and the only way to answer it is with a mech0suit powered sword slash to its stupid face. If you’re thinking genres, Star Renegades fits neatly into the roguelike category.
It’s you and comrades in a sci-fi environment, pushing your way towards a mothership hellbent on being the biggest bastard in the galaxy and hopping through dimensions along the way. You’re going to die, return to the edge of tomorrow and star all over a lot, but the neat feature of Star Renegades is that a fresh run retains many of the cool powers and unlocked allies that you found along the way.
As for the actual combat, it’s all about punching the initiative. You’r regularly fighting enemies that are far above your weight class, and the only way to stop your team being wiped out like an unprepared party taking on the Omega Weapon in Final Fantasy VIII is to keep staggering these opponents with attacks that take advantage of the timeline for actions that your gaming omniscience can observe.
Even with that handicap, enemies can be mercilessly difficult to defeat, bordering on godlike toughness as they reduce your party to ashes. The trick here is to know not only the combat system that becomes increasingly more complex the deeper into the game you get, but to also have the right assortment of soldiers on hand for these showdowns. Once all the ingredients are blended together with the charming pixel art and catchy soundtrack, Star Renegades becomes a visual feast of critical hits, flashy finishers and brutal banter.
As good as the aesthetics are though, there are some gripes to be had. The user interface feels like it was ripped from another game genre and it does a poor job in communicating vital information during more intense endgame moments. Combined with a grind of a first act and a relationship system that doesn’t much to your party besides a few minor ability variants and Fire Emblem comparisons, and Star Renegades does feel awkward to find your initial groove in.
Stick with it though and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how charming it can be thanks to the features that it excels at: A beautifully repetitive and punishing experience where you’ll live, die, and live once again across a galaxy-spanning adventure.
Last Updated: September 17, 2020